was talking to a machinist the other day and we had this crazy idea of sleeving a 400 block with 396 BB chevy sleeves. They are abot 4.094 bore and about 3/32 thick. the sleeves bored out .031 would make a 4.125 bore. the reason for using a 396 BB chevy sleeves over a 4.125 sleeve is it gives .040 more between the cylinders than using a standard 4.125 sleeve, .020 more than a sleeved 350 with the 4.125 sleeves. They problem with the chevys is that that sleeves leave almost nothing between the head bolt holes. On a ford there is plenty more room. Dart has an Iron eagle block with the same 4.38 bore spacing and 4.125 bore and can be bored something like 4.2 bore but its about 1800 before machining. this sleeving idea gives a more desirable bore to stroke ratio and with the 6.5 rod, a decent rod to stroke ratio, and 100 some odd pounds lighter than a BB ford. the pistons might need to be custom, but those can be had. Think of the stroker possiblities with this bore. The cheapest I've found have my blocked sleeved is about 100 dollars a hole. Can somebody think of reasons this wouldn't work, backed by some number crunching, maybe there is something I've missed
I was around when shazam was posting often, imagine what you could do with a stroker and an overbore.
Been crunching some more numbers and 390 ford sleeves would work pretty well. They are 3/32 thick with a 4.050 bore. 3/32=.09375*2=.1875+4.05=4.2375(outside to outside of sleeve) minus 4.38=.1425 between the bores. the neat thing is a 390 piston has the same comp distance as a stock 400. 400 = 4inch stroke /2=2 2+6.5 rod length ,minus 10.292 for deck height = 1.792 if its a 0 deck flat top. A 390 = 3.78stroke/2=1.89+6.488=8.378-10.170deck=1.792 if 0 deck flat top. Don't know idf the pin bore is the same though. Also with a .040 overbore would make a 4.09 bore with a gasket cylinder hole size of 4.1 for a stock head gasket. All over the counter parts and .040 over 390 cast flat tops are about 200 dollars. theres only about .122 difference between the deck heights, or about 3.0988mm. displacement with a stock stroke 400 would be 4.09*4.09*4*.7854*8=420.424ci, 8ci less than using the 396 chevy sleeves bored .031 over with 4.125 pistons, but with no custom pistons or copper head gaskets. I'm calling around for the sleeves now and ounce I get a set and get the block into the shop we will see how it turns out.
I think Tim Meyer is planning to make a piston for the Eagle 4.125" crank shaft... I don't know if FTE admin chased him off or not... I certainly hope not... You might contact him and see what he can do.
I like your idea with the 390 pistons... I want to explore that more, if the pin bores are the same that would be awesome, or if they were really close that would rock. I don't think the M block is as oddball as everyone makes it out to be... FE deck height, Windsor mains, 385 head design.... hrrrmmmm.....
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The pin holes are something like a couple thousanths different, the 400 would need to be hoged out ever so slightly. And with core shift, I don't think it would not be a problem. The block cylinders are machined to fit the sleeves, and this often ends up in the water jacket. The cylinders are step cut (a shelf left on the bottom) and then pressed in and chemically bonded to the remaining block. The head then bolts down, mechanicly locking the sleeve between the head and the shelf machined into the bottom of the cylinder bores. This way the cylinder sleeve has nowhere to go. If a machinist says they don't step cut the bores or says there is not enough cylinder wall to glue the sleeve too, or they can't because the sleeve will be in the water jacket, stay away, he doesn't know how to properly sleeve a block. The gluing of the sleeves is just added insurence, the mechanical lock is the primary means of locating the sleeves. Sleeving is most often done in heavy duty diesel engines (ie semi trucks and bulldozer) and is not a new idea for our puny gas engines. Often a properly sleeved block is stronger than a normal cast block. I think using the 390 sleeves and pistons will work, but there is only one way to find out, so give me some time to scrape together the parts.
been running some more numbers. The 396 bb chevy sleeves should work, bored to 4.130 and using 428 fe std. pistons. These sleeves should except a overbore of 4.160" (428fe .030 over) wich makes a 434, without touching the stroke. These are pistons that one can find and not custom made slugs. This should help shift the rpm range for hp/tq up the rpm band. I'll research the sleeves some more and see if its feasible. All the numbers I can find and been crunching, so far, says it's doable. We will see if I can end up ruining a good 400 core block.
What I'd like to find out is, can you use Eagle's forged crankshaft (for 408 windsor) with a BBC/SBC Eagle H/I beam rod (of appropriate length) and maybe Tim Meyers zero deck flat top forged lightweight piston... or any other forged psitons. You are talking about a lot of horsepower and torque and I just don't trust the cast crank, rods, or pistons.
Another question is if the 302 and 351W have the samne rod journal diameters? Then you could use the 347/393 stroker rods to get the length, although, the W block still doesn't have the deck height of the 400 and there fore the rods are probably too short... I don't know...
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Bore spacing is crowded in the 400 and the sealing ring in the head gasket probably wouldn't work beyond 60 over ? Putting sleeves in every bore ? The cost would be prohibitive + every machined surface would have to be redone. By the time you got the bill you could have built a 460.
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.020 less bore spacing than a chevy 350 isn't crowded. with the 396 bbc sleeves you have .040 more than usinig 4.125 sleeves to start with, in a 400, and .020 more than a chevy 350 that is using 4.125 sleeves. So the .020 more crowding you say the ford has is actualy .020 less crowding (ie more space) than a chevy, witch this procedure is done too all the time. Another point to ponder is the 5 head bolts on a sbc gives less room for sleeves than a fords 4 head bolts. You can get 4.155 bore gaskets, yeah they are copper though, and I wonder how well the 4.2 bore man-o war block seals, or for that matter darts iron eagle that uses a 4.125 bore. As for the cost of a 460, just to shoe-horn one in your talking alot of cash and some parts chasing let alone the added weight on the front axle. The 460 could make more torque, but it's higher in the rpm range and a 400 can make just as much torque down low and thats with 60 less ci. The stroke length and over bore has an effect on how much and where torque is produced in an engines rpm range. A 460 swap is a popular engine, hence why there is a forum dedicated to the 460. I think 100$ a hole plus a couple hundred for sleeves is a reasonable deal, and you should machine the block to spec anyway so even with a standard block all the surfaces will need a little touch up.
P.S. As for the cost of custom pistons, 390 pistons will work in the bore up to a 4.050 +.060 over or 4.11, and 428 fe pistons for a bore of 4.130 to 4.160 or 4.130 + .060 over. Fe pistons are reasonable in cost and cut out the need for custom pistons, and a custom head gasket isn't needed till a 4.155 bore is reached, because the make head gaskets with different thickneses with a 4.155 bore.
Don't know if this is pertinent, or feasible. What about pistons for the 352FE. You have a bore of 4.00 there and the connecting rod length is 6.54 versus 6.58 for the 400. Have no idea how available parts are for the 352 either.
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